Today my Glass is Full of Candor

This is not the post I had planned to write today.  This is the post that has been nagging at the corners of my mind, much like chocolate does.  Today’s previously scheduled post has been interrupted for a moment of candor and blogger self-reflection.  I hope you will indulge me with your patience.

I read a lot in the blogworld about seeking balance.  It comes up in countless aspects of life.  Juggling family and internet time.  Finding a happy proportion of eating healthy with the moderation of occasional splurges or treats.  Finding time to exercise when life gets in the way.  Balance.

For me, the latest balancing act has been unexpected:  how to juggle a desire to blog with optimism with my need to blog with honesty and authenticity.  Sometimes, they are very much at odds with each other.

I’d like to say that I simply always write what I am feeling in the moment.  That the words come through my fingers as they fly across the keyboards in a clear representation of the thoughts in my head and the feelings in my heart.  Sometimes it works that way.  But other times I write as an exercise in a self-fulfilling prophecy.  My words describe my vision and optimism.  I write what I can imagine and I hope that writing it will bring me there.  Sometimes I pause in what I intend to write and think about you, my readers, and ask myself if you really want to hear me say this, that, or the other thing.  (I mean, really, how many times do you want to hear about yet another struggle or yet another overeating binge.  Really.)  Sometimes I get blogger’s block and walk away from the keyboard.

When I started blogging, I wrote consistently with optimism.  I am not by nature an optimistic person; I tend to view my glass as half empty.  I’m trying to change that.  Making a conscious effort, when I remember.  Some days I am more successful at it than others.  Some days I walk around in virtual sunshine with my rose colored classes perched firmly on my nose.  But sometimes I have had to dig around on the floor, searching for those glasses that have fallen, unnoticed for a time, and put them firmly back on.

I struggle with this because part of me thinks optimism is the way to go.  If I write it, it will happen.  But the other part of me wants to write about some of the truths of the moment in my life and the reality is that sometimes that would sound anything but optimistic.  But it would be honest.  Authentic.  Me in the moment.  Sometimes I am tired of telling that story and sharing that part of myself but other times I really just want to put it all out here.  For me but also for you – to share the real me.  One of my readers once told me that there was a time she could sense a change in my writing… I think this is what she was sensing.

I have no direction with this post.  Usually I have a point to make, but not today.  Today I just wanted to share.  I just wanted to go with my gut and tell you something about me, something that has to do with the blogger I am.  In this moment, my glass is not half empty.  It’s just a glass.  And life is just life.  Sometimes I smile about it and sometimes I don’t.  So I guess some days my writing is going to reflect that, be it what it may, whatever mood I’m in.

That said, I do believe in the power that optimism can bring.  And someday soon, I plan to write a whole post about it.  But not today.  Because today, that’s just not how I’m feeling.  Well, let me rephrase.  I am feeling optimistic.  In this moment.  At the keyboard.  But in the hours before this, I felt… well… not so much.  And that I should be sharing the bad with the good.  Which I know is a bit controversial out here in the blog world.  I know that some readers want to read posts that are upbeat and want to read about progress and positive change.  They don’t want to read about struggles.  And believe you me, I want to write about the former much more than the latter.  But, more than anything, I want to be myself, honest, authentic, out here.

So today, and hopefully always, what you see is what you get.  Warts and all.  A different blogger might not feel the need to explain or apologize.  But this is me.  Telling you what I feel needs to be told.

So, I hope you will stick around.  And I hope my writing is more optimistic than not.  Because it is intended to be a reflection of my true self .  I hope that the real me comes through and that you connect with that person, that blogger, whether my glass is half empty or overflowing.

For now, I am putting away both my glass and my keyboard and picking up my rose-colored glasses and heading off to conquer another day.  How’s that for optimism:)

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67 Comments

Filed under blogging, emotions/emotional issues, optimism

67 responses to “Today my Glass is Full of Candor

  1. I have been waiting for this post. You are a gifted writer and this is “real.” This is YOU!

  2. Karen, I want to give you a hug!

    I remember once, when I blogged about taboos and how I had been very nervous about sharing that, you told me that the point of a blog was that it was somewhere we can be honest, we can express how we really feel and we don’t always have to put on rose tinted spectacles for the benefit of readers.

    I know you like to blog with a purpose and you do it so eloquently, but sometimes we just need to blog to get things out! (My last couple of blogs… a not-so-fine example!)

    You writing with a hint more honesty, which might mean a little less optimism, will not make any of us stop reading!

    *hugs*

    xo

    • Karen

      Thank you:) For the kind words, support, and for making me smile. I don’t remember that (see failing memory post on Monday…) but it does not surprise me because I do tell others that so guess I need to take my own advice. Thanks.

  3. I really love this post Karen cause I think many of us feel like this: how to juggle a desire to blog with optimism with my need to blog with honesty and authenticity. Sometimes, they are very much at odds with each other.

    I so understand & I tend to stick to just trying to motivate others & keep my own personal craziness private.. but so often I don’t.. but for now, I will..

    Saying that, I love hearing all sides of you. I think people learn thru your struggles. I am one to see that half empty too due to the way my life has gone in many areas… but like you, fighting for the optimistic.

    Keep doing what you feel is right.. we are all reading & learning & MAYBE can help! 🙂

    • Karen

      So… I have gotten to know you enough now that I often can predict what you might say about my eating, but this, nope, I had no idea. But as I have told you before, I very much appreciate that you have stuck with me and not given up when I stumble over and over. BTW – You come across as one of the most positive bloggers out there. I actually see that as sort of the trademark of your blog. Motivating others, getting others to think in a positive way.

      As always, thanks so much for all your support.

  4. This is the beauty of writing honestly. It has the power to help us sort out our truest thoughts and find that balance. Or not. At minimum, we have the opportunity to explore it.

    For myself, more than blogging optimistically, I want to LIVE with an optimistic (mostly) point of view. Understanding, of course, that whole requirement that to see the light in its fullest, one must occasionally walk through shadows. Which is where the balance comes in. 🙂

    • Karen

      Oh, that walk through the shadows thing is thought provoking! When I was writing this post I was also thinking about optimism as a post topic in and of itself and thinking about your recent great WoW post. Loved how you talked about anticipating success. That is optimism at its most successful to me:)

  5. Amy

    I really don’t get this part – “And that I should be sharing the bad with the good. Which I know is a bit controversial out here in the blog world. I know that some readers want to read posts that are upbeat and want to read about progress and positive change. They don’t want to read about struggles”

    Life is about the ups and downs. Life is a struggle. If we don’t write about the stuggle, how do we learn from it and possible others learn from us. Why is it frowned upon to show the downs? That’s BS in my humble opinion. I just write and I write my feelings at that time. I consider my blog a journal, a place for me to work on issues. If I am having a cranky, negative, pissy day then you bet my post will probably be the same. I just don’t get it.

    Be yourself! No need to apologise or censor yourself to be optimistic. Especially it that is truly not how you are.

    P.S. I sent you an email – thru your site yesterday asking about commenting on blogs. Wasn’t sure you would recognise the email addy.

  6. I personally dislike a blog full of optimism. I mean that is just not how people live their lives on a daily basis. Even the “glass is half full” people have days where they are like “I hate the damn glass”. Sometimes I want to see that! That is real to me. Sunshine and lollipops is all well and good but sometimes we need to wallow in the grey skies and rain to appreciate the sunshine and lollipops.

    • Karen

      “I hate the damn glass”. – That was funny! And the part about appreciating the sunshine and lollipops is an amazingly optimistic way to look a the gray days. How ironic is that!

  7. I’m with Randi – blogs that are always optimistic and laden with half full glasses viewed by rose colored spectacles get tiresome and feel inauthentic. I KNOW that there are people for whom that is their natural bent and viewpoint all the time. I’m not one of them, and so I check them once in awhile but they are not daily must reads for me. I could name a few but will chose discretion over snottiness;)! An you are always a must read – and to be honest, I miss your daily posts! Also totally understand the decision to post less often.

    I resonate with reality, and somehow think I can sense it between the lines of written posts. Living is not a linear nor static endeavor. There are ups and downs, wins and losses, peace and chaos. And all therein – with emotional content that flows over and through all of it. For me, raw and real emotion is vital and enlivening, even when it’s painful, because that is how I move through the mist. Meandering in all directions.

    Even when I’m down, there is a baseline of hope and optimism in my soul that reminds me everything changes, and whatever state I’m in will soon pass. But I want to share it and have others share it with me because that’s what makes life rich.

    I loved this post, Karen. Else I wouldn’t have responded with a novella! Bring on the real! Censor not!

    • Karen

      You always bring a smile to my face:) And your writing, even in a comment on MY blog, is so eloquent. Your third paragraph really made me think… and ask myself what it is that I feel deep down, when I forget the “small stuff” that is weighing on me. (Oh, I really did not intend a pun there.) Thanks muchly (which I know is not a word but it fits) for your kind words Leslie. And all your amazing support. Huge hug.

  8. Life is Pain, Princess. Anybody who says Otherwise is trying to sell you something – Wesley in The Princess Bride

    Just like hooters, when blogs get too perky and I know it’s not “real”

  9. Such a thoughtful, honest, and (for me) provocative post. Provocative because it makes me ponder why I choose to read the blogs that I do, and why I choose to blog.

    I read sparingly and cautiously. Karen, your blog is one of a handful that I read consistently because you are authentic; your writing style is engaging and clear; I genuinely enjoy and value your opinions. I could care less how optimistic you are. If optimism, however, is one of your goals for your writing – go for it. I won’t leave. I’m hooked.

    • Karen

      I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were and how things were going with your dad.

      I have very different reasons for reading certain blogs. But, this does make me wonder why someone comes back to mine. I’d love to ask but suspect that I would not a lot of input. So thanks for sharing and the kind words:)

  10. Bravo, my friend! Honesty is always the best policy! Looking forward to more of the real Karen. 🙂

  11. I like your warts, and the fabulous manicures, it’s all part of the same fab lady!

  12. I agree with SSKAR who said this post provoked thoughts about why we blog in the first place. In my opinion, it’s possible to balance optimism with reality. I think that’s precisely the definition of balance… too much of any one thing means we’re out of balance.

  13. I, of all people, am always happy to find authenticity. You are just fine any way you choose to be. We love ya.

  14. Great post.

    I think authenticity is about blogging about how you feel. Optimistic or otherwise!

  15. Adina

    I believe honesty is the best policy, whether it’s being honest about your feelings or being honest about cravings, crankiness, or whatever! I look forward to reading your blog and fine a great sense of belonging and being in the know when I read that others have struggles and down days just like I have.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there.

  16. I like real blogs with real emotions. No one can be HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY all the damn time. Life isn’t like that and neither should any blog…

    Great post… you write beautifully. 🙂

  17. I truly feel positive thinking helps make your life better- I’ve always been a glass is half-full person and no matter what I always try to see the silver lining. I didn’t get that job? Oh well, I gained more interview experience…”

  18. Hmmm – so the optimism when writing is sort of a “if you write it, it will come” type of thing?

    I’m by nature an optimistic person (although also deeply practical) and so I don’t relate as much to the pushing outside of my comfort zone except perhaps in how I try to approach my weight loss as “progress, not perfection” (because I am at heart a perfectionist and it’s really hard to give that up!)

    I like the stream of consciousness – it speaks authentically

    • Karen

      That “progress, not perfection” paradigm is very good for me too, a reforming perfectionist:) I think your optimism comes through in your blog, Sarah, and clearly you have made a conscious effort to incorporate that into your life. With your great lists, for example. It is interesting when I think about it because it is such a practical approach to happiness and optimism.

  19. I love reading your blog. You always keep it real.

  20. First, ditto to what RAndi and Leslie said. 🙂

    Second, I have found that very often people who only write optimistic, postive posts are people who are avoiders. They are the Scarlett O’hara’s of the world. Always putting off facing a problem until tomorrow. And tomorrow never comes.

    Sometimes that works for them, often it does not. Friends and family feel lied to when they discover negative situations that have not been told or put upon when ignored negatives roost in their lap needing attention.

    Although no one wants to read gloom and doom all of the time, I genuinely believe that ALL truth–no matter how negative–is positive. I do. Why would either of us waste our time reading fake sunshine? I mean, really, what’s the point of that? If I want feel good fiction, I’ll rent a movie or buy a book.

    And, finally, this is your blog. Why did you start it? To entertain? Well, then, blow sunshine, my dear. But if it was meant to be a different kind of place, write what works for that purpose.

    Uh-hmmm. I’ve thought about this subject a lot. chuckle. sorry.

    Deb

    • Karen

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment Deb. And you put a different spin on this that I had never though about. And I started the blog to motivate ME. But way back then I had no idea there was anyone else out here! And now, I get other things from blogging, things I did not expect. Like a sense of community. But, you do remind me to think again about what it is that I want to get out my blog and my writing. Thank you.

  21. I love reading your blog!! Unfortunately life isn’t just this perfect place where everything goes 100% the way we wanted… so bad days, good days… optimism, pessimism – I wanna hear it all!

  22. Here’s the thing: authenticity shines through both positive and negative!

    “I know that some readers want to read posts that are upbeat and want to read about progress and positive change. They don’t want to read about struggles.”

    Funny you should say this…at one point it seemed like people preferred my struggle posts because those were the ones that got the most comments. But whatever…blog from your heart and you and your readers will be the better for it!

    • Karen

      When I started blogging I told one friend about it, my former diet and exercise partner who had since moved away. She read for a while then told me she wasn’t reading anymore because she herself was struggling so much with her eating that my success at the time was making her feel worse about herself. That was a bit of an eye opener for me! But I understood it.

      I think that people often like the posts that resonate with them personally and so that for some, if they are struggling or can identify with my struggles, that is what they connect with when they read.

      Interesting to think about it all.

      • Karen

        I forgot to mention that I have never participated in one of the word prompts, but when I was toying with this post thought a lot about that whole concept of vulnerability. THIS post made me feel very vulnerable.

        • I think there’s a lot of power in being vulnerable…it’s sort of like realizing that your feelings can not destroy you. Also, when we fear being vulnerable (or other “negative” emotions), we tend to numb ourselves…but it’s such a big disservice because we can’t selective numb only the negative…when we numb, we numb it all! (I didn’t just make that up…I’ve heard about this concept elsewhere).

          Anyway, no worries about participating or not participating. I tend to not go with the crowd on blogging memes or other trends (like giveaways etc.), but this Self-Discovery Word By Word thing spoke to me on some level…

  23. I want to see the real, authentic person. I much prefer to read a blog that will have both..where you can see the *real* heart behind the writer. Those are the blogs I return to repeatedly.

    I personally prefer to throw it out there and let my real self show. If it’s a “downer”, and the reader hates a “downer”..they can click out and go to the next one on their list to look for the “upper”. But I will be me and be free to be me.

    I try to approach my blogging the way I approach my business. When I began designing, I designed what *I* wanted. I get requests for all sorts of things but If I’m not designing what I want, or am inspired to design, it’s not going to sell well and my heart is not in it. By being TRUE to myself, my business has been successful. I hope to carry that into other parts of my life.

    I began a blog to share my heart…and reveal my authentic self. To throw it out there. Yeah. This is who I am.

    There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable. It’s a beautiful human quality.

    I’ll be sticking around! 🙂 I love your blog and I’ve always found you very “real”.

    • Karen

      What a coincidence that I just wrote a moment ago a response to a comment in which I shared that this particular post made me feel very vulnerable! Your honesty always comes through in your blog Julie. It is interesting that you started blogging to share and reveal, I started to motivate myself. I have not quite done what I hoped to do, but instead I found a whole lot of other great reasons to keep blogging:)

  24. There is nothing at all wrong with optimism mixed with candor and reality. It is great to be upbeat, but it is also great to let it all out.

  25. Yeah! I’m so glad you’re allowing yourself some more freedom to express whatever might bubble to the surface. I can’t wait to read how your think and feel about things. I’ve had far too much “struggle” to write about lately. I can’t help it. It’s where I am. And especially in a “diet” blog… it’s real and part of the process of solving my lifelong issues.
    I think that optimism isn’t necessarily a totally “cheerful” post, but optimism is in what you do with the hard times. Writing about them is by it’s very nature a positive thing. Self expression is art and it’s art always gives me hope.
    hugs to you!!

    • Karen

      Weeelllll, some things just still won’t make it out here because of the few people in my real life who read along. Funny you should say that about self expression because I never thought about it, but I actually have been writing some posts about totally off topic stuff lately because I like the writing, the creative process, and what I have to say, but it gives me a break from writing about the “depressing” stuff now and then. I have wondered what my readers think when I throw those off-topic posts out there.

  26. The Binge Diary

    I want to read about the REAL you- good and bad! Don’t hold back! Write for you!

  27. I may be Mrs. Brighside, but I have my moments..hours..days. We all do. Like they say, we have to experience the downs to appreciate the ups. Right?

  28. Ewa

    Honesty inspires.
    Having said that, I myself find it difficult to let the world see all the demons that sit inside of me. I am hoping they will go away but more and more I realize that for this to happen I need to open the door first.
    This was a very good post.

  29. Karen, I read your blog because I enjoy hearing your “voice” and part of that is the sense of authenticity that permeates your posts. Write about whatever strikes your fancy – postive, negative or whatever – and I’m sticking around. 🙂

  30. sunnydaze

    I know what you are saying. I always try/stuggle to remain positive no matter what is happening but sometimes it is just so hard and we need to vent…then I get paranoid because I feel like if I vent then I will attract more negativity with the law of attraction and all that.

    I guess the balance would be to acknowledge what is going on that is causing us stress and then choose to keep a positive attitude. That’s whay I’m trying to do.

  31. I have a blog post schedule to help circumvent those bad mood days. I write many of them in advance – when I’m in the mood to write (or have time to do so).

    But I appreciate your candor in admitting you have those “moments” that we all have. I don’t think it’s possible to be Happy Sally every day!

  32. I personally appreciate the blogs who do share the bad with the good most. It makes the person more real. So thank you for sharing this! 🙂

  33. The great thing abut blogging is that you can change your voice daily. If you want to have an optimistic dirven entry one day, and a venting session the next – then it’s fine. Don’t forget this should be hel;ping YOU though YOUR journey first and foremost, so do what helps you most.

  34. To have come across your blog and have this as my first post to read was absolutely perfect. You have effectively said the very same thing I struggle with on my own blog: the need to feel optimistic but knowing that there are certain days when all I want to do is just lay it all out on the page, the good – the bad- and the ugly. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who struggles with this. From a reader’s perspective, I admire your honesty and as I continue to read your blog, I’m sure that will be like a breath of fresh air.

  35. Besides what WE, as readers, might think or feel about what you’ve written, the greatest part I see in this post is that you are being honest with YOURSELF.

    I used to lie to myself a lot – tell myself that my habits or way of thinking was okay when deep down, I knew it really wasn’t. I’m a better person because I’m honest with myself now. And I face the ugly parts without lying and saying they look pretty. Ya know?

    • Karen

      So… of course this comment made me reflect on what I am (or am not) telling myself. Thanks for the thought provoking perspective.

  36. I believe we blog for ourselves, first, and our readers and followers, last. Blog how you feel and in the moment. Good, bad, or indifferent. If it helps you, do it. If it does not, don”t. Your followers will stick around. Optimistic or not. Do it for you. Not for us. This journey is for you, not for us.

  37. Good for you for staying true to who you are! When I first started blogging I read an article that said a blogger should find their “voice” and be authentic because when you are the reader can tell that!

    I tend to be optimistic and see the glass as half full, that is who I am but that doesn’t mean that I think everyone else in the world should be like that as well. Variety is the spice of life!

    Even though you are having your struggles with your eating that doesn’t define who you are as a person. It is but one small part of YOU.

    I like who you are Karen, it doesn’t matter to me what size you are, what you look like. Hey, I’ve never even seen a photo of you! I feel like I know you from your blog and it is your thoughts, your wit, humor and yes your honesty that keeps me coming back.

    Okay I admit that there is a part of me that wants to see you beat this eating thing and achieve your health goals too!

    I also happen to believe that you will do it!

    I just can’t help thinking that your glass is really half full and you just need to turn it over to see it that way too!

    • Karen

      Thanks Tami. I feel like I know you from your blog too and I like who YOU are:) You’ve become a wonderful blog friend, not to mention a great healthy living role model.

  38. I love knowing that others have ups and downs – can be blue & rosey – have tears and giggles. It’s all what makes us whole and, uh, balanced, and for me, it reminds me that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing Karen.

  39. You know, I understand this. Sometimes I really feel like saying, screw it. I think dieting is hard, and it sucks, and it’s not fun. I have bad days. I have days that you would never guess that I’ve overhauled my lifestyle because my eating attitudes don’t reflect it. And I struggle with…should I blog about it?

    I don’t know. I tell my husband everything, and obviously he witnesses the bad days, but does the world also need to know? The people you are also accountable to? Hmm. Something for me to think about. That’s what I like about your posts. They always get me thinking. 🙂

    • Karen

      I like posts that get me thinking too! And often it is the comments from my own posts that are so thought provoking for me. One of the things I love about the whole blog world is how often this happens to me here… I just get to thinking about things differently.

  40. Karen,

    Once again I can totally relate to what you are saying. I have had many moments where I am struggling and I debate whether or not to share that part of this journey on my blog. Some days it feels like people only want to read the good stuff.

    But I think that it’s important to be honest. Many people who read our blogs (and who may be reading but not commenting) may think, “Wow, they make it look so easy. Why is it so hard for me?” I think it is unfair to make everything look so perfect and easy and cheerful all the time! I think it is best and most helpful to ourselves and everyone else if we are as honest and authentic as we can be. This is about sharing the good times and the tough times.
    The posts I love the most are from people who are open and honest. That’s what I love about your blog!!! You are a fantastic writer and I have learned and shared so much from being your blog friend!!!

    • Karen

      Thanks blog friend:) You know what is so strange… I think nothing of reading an honest “oops I did it again” from another blogger. So why question my own? Maybe it is the vulnerability that I feel in admitting things that I had not thought I would have to admit to this far on the journey?

  41. wow, you really gave me something to think about, Karen!
    first, i’ve always thought your blog was genuine and that you are an optimistic person! (i can’t read blogs of people who complain all the time. it just wears me out.) i’d say just keep doin’ what you’re doin. you’re doin’ it well! 🙂

  42. You are very brave. Being honest is brave. When I feel an honest post coming on, I normally say nothing. I think a lot of us hide the real things that bring us down.

  43. I struggle with this too. I try to be upbeat, positive and enthusiastic about my life on the blog. But there are many, many days where I feel down, pessimistic about my recent progress/injuries/you name it!

    I think honesty is a good thing. I don’t read blogs that are bubble-gum all the time. There needs to be honesty and sharing of life’s ups and downs. I like that better. 🙂

  44. Having blogged for three years now, I understand this ambivalence well, Karen, between the need to say it like it is, and the need to motivate ourselves and our readers. I think what’s important is what matters to YOU – and through that you will draw the readers best suited to you and your blog. I certainly don’t write about everything that drags me down, but the times I have shared my struggles, I have received SO MUCH encouragement from the blogosphere, I am really touched and amazed that people can celebrate and accept our humanness, and help us back on our feet again.

    • Karen

      I have been touched and amazed by the blog community too. Three years ago I am not sure I even knew what a blog was! and when I started, I certainly had no idea this community existed.

  45. Thank you for writing something that has been in my head–but so eloquently. Sometimes I wonder if in my desire to find my voice and give my blog a direction, I actually lose myself. Your honesty and candor make you the amazing writer that you are- and I, like many of your readers, will come back again and again because of it.

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